The Longing-ist Playthrough: Day 6 – 06/01/22 – 388 Days, 8 Hours, 20 Minutes and 50 Seconds to go…
While the play session started with a pretty solid agenda, it wasn’t long until my plans were resolved and I was left scratching around for progress. I wasn’t disappointed though, as what did happen was significant indeed…
Firing up the Switch. I immediately found that Monty had entirely polished off Moby Dick, which made me feel rather inferior considering the number of times I’ve tried and failed to get to the end. Good on you though, mate – in two sittings as well. You’re a literacy machine.
The plan was to explore beyond the [broken stair], as I was sure that the stalactite would have come down by the time I played again. Before we set off I encouraged Monty to do another louse painting (this time in chalk) in the hopes of satiating his strange desire… but it didn’t. Regardless, I hung the new painting above the bookcase alongside the first one while Monty busied himself firing off a few more fruitless blasts on the horn.
With everything at home all done, we set off for the [broken stair], and it only took a few moments before my confidence of some progress was blooming. As Monty stepped out into the [crystal crossroads], I immediately noticed that the music had changed. The environment is changing over time and the atmosphere is changing with it… The synth-organ tune had gone and was replaced by a much more complicated string melody – it was relatively upbeat and somehow more confident than before – almost like I knew what the deal was now. I wasn’t a rookie anymore. There was less mystery. But only a little less.
We arrived at our destination and confirmed that it can be called the [broken stair] no longer – the stalactite had fallen! Huzzah! 🎉 I eagerly asked Monty to cross the now-mended stair and up to the floor below, ignoring another bleak thought from Captain Cheerful about him potentially being impaled by one of the stalactites one day. 😅 Reaching the top we found another piece of wood, bringing us to a total of five pieces – surely enough to complete a bed for Monty! Four corner posts and a base. What more do you need? The stretch of corridor at the top of the stairs looked to contain nothing more than my wooden prize, but I wasn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer; I knew I’d seen a large room beyond this one on the map, and I remembered Monty’s advice that there were many secret passageways in the caves, so I asked him to keep walking…
And I was right.
Monty shuffled behind the supposed end-wall and came out in a cavernous room, covered with long, thin stalactites and (perhaps) lit by two crystals that glowed in a pale blue light. Damn – I still need the mattock… wait – what’s that between the crystals?
What I saw was a large face made up of holes in the back wall of the cave! My mind immediately flashed to a note in Monty’s diary about wanting someone to talk to (a message that I ironically didn’t highlight in yesterdays entry 😅). Looking more closely at the face, I was unsure what might happen as Monty approached, but I was quietly confident that this was a friend rather than something more sinister. The face looked innocent enough; the eye-holes were quite rounded and soft, with a small rocky nose and a slightly down-turned mouth. Time to introduce ourselves, I guess.
Monty exchanged some pleasantries with the [Face in the Wall], who didn’t offer any sort of name, before going on to ask, “Can you help me with these thoughts?” Monty seemingly had three things on his mind that he wanted the Face to help him with:
- How can I overcome the darkness? Ugh, this again. It’s really on your mind, huh?
- What lies beyond this cave? Fair question, but be careful what you wish for…
- What will happen after 400 days? Well, I’ll have a lot clearer writing schedule, for one!
But then came the catch – each question had a price. The Face wouldn’t spill the beans unless we paid him 20 pieces of coal for the darkness question, 20 pieces of moss for the 400 day question and, entirely surprisingly, five Disappointments for the cave question! Well knock me down with a feather – I hadn’t expected those to come in handy! While I wasn’t overtaken with a compulsion for the answers to these questions, clearly they were bugging Monty, so I went ahead and handed over the coal and the Disappointments – I had plenty to spare after all. There’s no I’m handing over that moss until I’ve seen that bed all put together! Alright, let’s find out what you’ve got to say then, O Crunchy One.
As expected, The Face talked in riddles and didn’t exactly give Monty a straight answer to what he asked. He talked a lot about overcoming the darkness by becoming the darkness… okay, Batman…, and not to trust the eyes of youth; trust only the old and the blind. (I’ve posted his full answers in a gallery at the end of the entry for anyone who wants to read for themselves.)
Now, it certainly sounded to me like I needed Monty to eat more ‘shrooms to delve deeper into his own psyche, and that he might make it out of the cave, but to not trust the young troll, and to emerge only when the blind man was around. I’m not sure how those things can both be true – the dreams are either Monty’s past or they’re what’s going on outside – surely they can’t be both? I’ll have to keep refining my theory… While The Face’s answers were far from concrete, they added another level of intrigue to affairs – not only did I have a little bit of (vague) guidance on what to do, but I had someone I could come back to for advice should we get stuck. All the while, Monty never batted an eyelid at The Face’s sagely wisdom and just stood there making me feel awkward. Perhaps he’ll add his thoughts about it to his diary for digestion later though.
Not immediately knowing what to do with The Face’s advice, I thought about Monty discussing growing mushrooms and instead sent him off on the long trek to collect one. But when he finally made it to the mines and plucked the first ‘shroom he found, I asked him to clamber back down the spiderweb and he refused, saying that the extra weight would break the web. I guess that means he wants to grow them up here and not at home – case closed either way. Not really thinking, I asked Monty to scarf down the ‘shroom (when I should definitely have told him to plant it 🤦🏻♂️) before making his way to the cave filled with huge green mushrooms. I feel like I missed something there yesterday…
Walking over to the far wall, which I thought looked a little suspect yesterday, but didn’t have the word count to mention, Monty told me that he could probably tunnel through the cracked stone here…
“IF ONLY HE HAD A MATTOCK.” 😡
Seriously. This thing was beginning to piss me off. But on the bright side, my intuition was right and I could take solace in knowing I could explore more of the [green mushroom cave] once I got my hands on it.
And finally, I used the last few minutes of my play time to send Monty back towards the entrance to the [crystal mines], near where we were waiting for the moss to grow. I didn’t have any great agenda there other than wanting to poke around the place a little more tomorrow, but thought I’d better give him a head start since he walks like a grandma.